Sun Launches Software as a Service Blitz

Sun made a major software as a service (SaaS) announcement today involving the Solaris operating system. But I'm waiting for the other shoe to drop. There's a high probability, I believe, that Sun will rapidly expand its SaaS efforts to include the MySQL database (near term) and potentially Ubuntu Linux (long term). Here's why managed service providers should care.

Short-term, promoting Solaris as a SaaS platform makes solid business sense. The high-end operating system has been popular in large, mission-critical deployments for such verticals as financial services and telecommunications. Now, those same verticals are seeking highly reliable SaaS solutions. Sun says the Solaris SaaS initiative provides software developers with the technology, hosted infrastructure and services needed to offer their software as a service.

Rising Opportunity

But longer-term, more and more SaaS-centric companies are moving to Linux and open source. In fact, 90 percent of SaaS solutions will use open source by 2010, according to Gartner.

Sun is well-positioned to cash in on that trend. By acquiring MySQL for $1 billion, Sun may eventually thrive in the hosted open source database market. In fact, Logicworks, a managed service provider in New York, quietly became the first authorized MySQL Platinum Hosting Partner in the U.S.

Also, Sun has certified its servers to run Ubuntu Linux. Although Ubuntu is mostly a desktop phenominon, the Linux distribution is expected to gain some traction on servers later this year. Near term, market leaders Red Hat and Novell are the more obvious choices for Linux-driven SaaS applications. But Sun will need to continue to differentiate, which means Ubuntu could become a SaaS option in its own right.
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